· Information that is and isn’t in your credit report.
· What information determines your credit score.
· Tips to improve your credit score.
What’s In Your Credit Report
A Credit Report maintains all of a consumers credit information. The basics of what you or a lender would
expect to find would be;
• Your Name, along with any adjustments (ie maiden name)
• Your Social Security Number
• Your Date of Birth
• Current Address (as well as any previous addresses)
• Employment Information
• Credit Accounts (including all accounts with activity in last seven years)
• All Credit History
• Public Records (including any judgments, collection accounts, liens or bankruptcies)
• Inquiries (any inquiries done on your credit file, including promotional, personal and requested
What’s Not In Your Credit Report
The only information that you’ll find in a credit report is information that pertains to a consumer’s credit
worthiness. There is a substantial amount of information that cannot be listed in a persons credit file. This
information is in essence any information that could be used in a discriminatory manner.
Information that would not be found in a consumer’s credit file can include: Race, Religion, National Origin,
Marital Status and Medical History. This information does not relate to a person’s credit worthiness and
subsequently has not been included in a persons credit report. The purpose of a credit file is to give lenders the
ability to effectively judge a person’s credit worthiness. No other information can be maintained by Credit
How Credit Reports Helps You
Credit reports maintain all of a consumer’s credit information in one place and are easily accessible to lenders.
When a consumer completes an application for credit, a lender can pull their credit report and see all the history
of that consumer’s credit. This will help them to make their decision as to whether or not to extend credit to that
individual. By having this easy access, lenders are able to make a decision, based on facts, substantially quicker.
This in turn allows them to save on their costs and also pass that savings onto their clients.
Credit reports are regulated by Federal laws, which change all the time to better protect consumers and their
rights. These laws insure that only accurate information be maintained by credit bureaus, and that any
inaccurate information be removed, once it is identified. Any information that is on a consumer’s credit report
can be disputed, and if found incorrect, it will be removed. This insures that lenders are making their decision
[on lending] based on correct and up to date information. This gives each consumer a fair chance at receiving
the credit they may need.
How Credit Reports Are Used
Credit Reports are used in variety of different ways, some we’re familiar with and some we may not be. The
typical uses that we are familiar with include:
• Loan Applications
• Credit Card Applications
• Basis For Credit Scores
• Mortgage Applications
• Not all of the uses apply directly to applications for credit. Some of the other uses include:
• Insurance rates for your home or automobile
• Job & Lease Applications
Your Credit Score
There are several different models or methods of calculation that are in use. The most commonly used is the
Fair, Isaac and Co. (FICO) score. Each consumers credit file is reviewed and given an overall score based on
the information that their file contains. These scores are made up of several different factors, and each has a
different impact. No one factor will determine a consumers credit score. Based on the amount of, or type of,
information in consumers credit file the importance of each factor will vary. All things being considered the
following are the five components that make up a Credit Score and the average value of each one. Each factor
makes up for a percentage of your overall Credit Score.
Factor Percentage Of Score
1. Payment Record 35%
2. Amounts Owed 30%
3. Length of Credit History 15%
4. New Credit 10%
5. Types of Credit in use 10%
Within each of the five factors there are several things that are included. The following is a breakdown of all
the information in your credit report and the factor that it applies to.
• Payment information on individual types of accounts, including credit cards, retail accounts, installment
loans and finance accounts.
• Any adverse public records such as judgments, lawsuits, liens, levies, garnishments or bankruptcies.
• Delinquency on accounts including how past due they may be.
• Amounts owed on collection accounts and dates of the last payments.
• Recentness of any delinquent items.
• Number of past due items in your file.
• Number of accounts that have been paid as agreed.
• Total number of accounts with an outstanding balance remaining.
• Total ratio of account balances verses the credit limit.
• Total remaining balance on any installment loans
Length Of Credit History
• Length of time since the accounts have been opened
• Time passed since recent activity on the accounts
• Number of recently opened accounts.
• Number of recent credit inquires.
• Length of time since the accounts were opened.
• On time payment history beginning after any previous payment problems.
Types Of Credit In Use
Total number of accounts, varying in type. Including credit cards, installment loans, retail accounts, finance
accounts or mortgages.
Tips For Improving Your Credit Score
Each component compiled together is what makes up for you overall score, but when you’re looking to improve
your score, it’s again best to do it by category. It’s best to focus on it this due to the fact that you may not need
to improve in some areas. Here are a few tips that consumers can do to try to improve their score.
• Pay all of your accounts on time. Collection accounts and past due payments have a major impact on
• If you have missed any payments, bring the accounts current and keep them current. The longer your
payment history remains current the better your score.
• Remember that paying off an account will not remove it from your credit report. Accurate information
will stay on your credit report for seven years from the date of last activity.
• Try to keep the balances on your revolving accounts low compared with their credit limits. A high
outstanding debt can affect a score negatively. An example would be to try to have at least 40% of your
credit limit available to you.
• Pay off the debts rather than moving them around. Maintaining the same amount of debt but having less
open accounts may lower your score.
• Don’t close any unused credit cards as a “quick-fix” strategy to raise your score.
• Don’t open new credit cards that you don’t need, to increase your available credit.
Length Of Credit History
• Opening new accounts will lower the average age of the accounts currently open. If you have only been
using credit for a short period of time, it is not a good idea to open several new accounts at once. A rapid
increase in new accounts on your credit report can increase your credit risk.
• If you pay off older accounts, keep them open to increase the average age of your accounts. If you want
to close accounts, close a newer account that has been paid in full.
• When applying for credit, submit all of your applications in a condensed time frame. Credit scoring
distinguishes between multiple applications for the same loan and seeking multiple sources of credit, by
the time period in which the applications are submitted.
• If you have had problems with payments, rebuild your credit history. Opening only new accounts that
you need and using them responsibly will help to rebuild your credit with time.
• Remember that you’re not penalized for obtaining a copy of your own credit report. It will not be held
against you as long as it’s ordered from a credit-reporting agency.
Types Of Credit In Use
• Only apply for credit that is really needed. It is not advantageous to open accounts to increase the types
of credit that you have in use.
• Maintain credit card accounts only use them appropriately. Overall having revolving charge accounts
and making timely payments will raise your score.
• A consumer with no credit cards may be a higher risk then a consumer who has managed them
Where To Obtain Your Credit Report
A consumer may obtain a copy of their credit report at any time. Contacting any one of the three major Credit
Bureaus will help with this. Each Credit Bureau will have a charge for obtaining your credit report, this will
vary depending on which version you select to receive. A consumer is also entitled to a free copy of their credit
report if they have been denied credit in the past 60 days. A consumer would just submit the denial letter they
received from their application to one of the three Credit Bureaus and they will receive their credit report in the
The three major Credit Bureaus and their respective contact information are listed below. Some
consumers may find it beneficial to obtain a version of their credit file that includes all three major credit
bureaus. The cost is more, but it is all-inclusive. Also listed in the information for Fair Isaac and Co. which is
the leading credit-scoring model.
Phone Number- (800) 685-1111
Web Address- www.equifax.com
Mailing Address- PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Phone Number- (888) 397-3742
Web Address- www.experian.com
Mailing Address- PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013-2002
Phone Number- (800) 888-4213
Web Address- www.transunion.com
Mailing Address- PO Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
Fair Isaac & Co.
Web Address www.myfico.com
Delray Credit Counseling Corp.
5300 West Atlantic Ave Suite 200
Beach Florida 33483